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Broker-dealer CEOs' readiness for deadline

May 23, 2005

NEW YORK - By the beginning of December, securities regulators will be holding broker-dealer CEOs responsible for their firms' conduct and compliance. But some in the industry fear that some firms, already on the verge of being overwhelmed with...

FBI criminal probe could affect viability of some insurers

May 23, 2005

NEW YORK - The FBI's announcement this month that it is "looking for patterns of fraudulent activity" to determine whether the insurance industry is the "next big one" in the corporate-criminal arena may call into question insurers' business...

Some states fight caps on securities law fines

May 23, 2005

WASHINGTON - State securities regulators are balking at capping penalties levied against financial services companies for securities law violations, even though the capping has been agreed to as part of model state securities legislation now...

Bill would make 529 exemption permanent

May 23, 2005

WASHINGTON - A long-sought-after goal of the Section 529 college savings plan industry - to make permanent the federal tax-exempt status of 529 withdrawals - received a major boost from two members of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee...

The Mounties (very often) get their man

May 23, 2005

OTTAWA -The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are generally the last people one wants to meet - especially if one is involved in a securities crime. But such meetings are becoming more and more common. Sometimes the Mounties arrive with a splash....

Message from ICI: Put shareholders first

May 16, 2005

WASHINGTON - The Investment Company Institute delivered a message at its general membership meeting last week that the mutual fund industry, roundly battered by trading scandals, should put shareholders first. For the most past, its message...

Widow asks court to overturn arbitration ruling

May 16, 2005

BALTIMORE - A court hearing held here last week to try to overturn an arbitration decision provides a look at how difficult the process can be for plaintiffs. Joseph Meyer, an NASD arbitrator and mediator, said: "The court has to see where there's...

Waddell & Reed case helps spotlight pitfalls of the 1035 exchange

May 9, 2005

NEW YORK - The recently announced $18 million settlement of variable-annuity-switching charges involving Waddell & Reed Inc., NASD and state regulators serves as a warning about the care required when advising clients to change annuity insurers....

Vanguard PAC drawing flak from advocates

May 9, 2005

NEW YORK - When it comes to political action committees connected to mutual fund companies, "very few of them are there to stand up for shareholders," said John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group Inc. in Malvern, Pa. Only time will tell if...

Fiduciary group clarifies stand on BD rule

May 9, 2005

WASHINGTON - The National Council of Financial Fiduciaries took steps last week to clarify its stance on the broker-dealer-exemption rule adopted recently by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The newly formed group, based in Potomac, Md.,...

Bankruptcy law will protect 529-plan assets

May 9, 2005

NEW YORK - Executives in the 529 college savings plan industry are praising an unheralded provision in the new bankruptcy law that protects assets in college-savings accounts. As it turns out, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection...

NAIFA opposes creating association health plans

May 2, 2005

WASHINGTON - Insurance advisers are at odds with much of the small-business lobby over legislation that would pave the way for the creation of association health plans. The plans would allow small-business groups to band together to get more...

SEC broker rule wins support

May 2, 2005

WASHINGTON - Two fiduciary organizations support a controversial new regulation that exempts fee-based brokers from registering as investment advisers in some circumstances. In early April, a spinoff group of the Society of Fiduciary Advisors...

SEC unlikely to alter how it rations sanctions against fund firms

May 2, 2005

NEW YORK - The Securities and Exchange Commission is unlikely to change how it goes after fund companies that it suspects of wrongdoing, merely because it partially lost one court case, according to legal experts. The case involves a ruling...

Merrill hits funds with another fee

May 2, 2005

NEW YORK - Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. is hitting the mutual funds it supports with an omnibus-account double whammy. In addition to already charging fund companies for omnibus subaccounting, the industry giant sent letters to them late last year...

NASD drops other shoe on Raymond James

May 2, 2005

NEW YORK - At a meeting in Salt Lake City last summer with registered representatives affiliated with Raymond James Financial Services Inc., Richard G. Averitt III, the firm's chief executive, said he was stumped as to why NASD was looking at...

Merrill transition policy said to be complicated by issues of gender

May 2, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO - Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.'s current program for transitioning books of business - allowing brokers with an eye on retirement to make quiet deals at the branch level - has been described by one industry observer as "conflict avoidance."...

Battle over Merrill rule still on, say FPA, NAPFA

April 25, 2005

DETROIT - With the dust still settling around the 117-page broker-dealer-exemption action that the Securities and Exchange Commission issued two weeks ago, the financial planning industry is already considering its next move. According to legal...

Death-tax repeal could be deadly, some fear

April 25, 2005

WASHINGTON - As Senate negotiations over permanent estate tax repeal get under way following approval by the House for the second time, estate planners and some financial planners are growing more concerned over the loss of stepped-up capital...

Raymond James criticizes SEC penalties

April 25, 2005

NEW YORK - Raymond James Financial Services Inc. fired back against the Securities and Exchange Commission last week in a continuing dispute that could cut into the firm's efforts to recruit top brokers. In a brief filed with the SEC, the St....

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